Les Semaines

April 02, 2006

what I'm thinking and doing § what I'm listening to § what I'm reading
what I'm writing § retrospective: old journal


After Fools

Most of this week was spent trying to keep up with the Clarion West applications (amazing how long it takes to deal with each one, amazing how much paper and toner and postage it all was—I was heartily sick of doing them by the end of it all).

It felt like a really busy week, keeping up with those. Also had a meeting one night, and on Tuesday Tamar's new car arrived! Her Mini Cooper. It's a gorgeous colour—space blue—which is almost black but shines navy blue. It's cute cute cute.

Wednesday we all met for Pho, then watched Lost at Tamar's. Devin came over for dinner and Scrabble on Saturday night. Alvin the sugar glider came, too, and decided she likes a little ginger ice cream and hanging out in my sweater sleeve.

Other than that, it was applications all the way.

So glad to be done with that. And on to the next things, now that it's April. I'm so ready for it to be April and springtime (not so ready for getting up an hour earlier, but it's not like I get a choice). March went out like a lion, I didn't notice any April Fools. Next!

Chronicles of Sloth: Episode 19

  • Damn: email inbox up to 341 messages (from 315 last week, from 380 when I started tracking this, and way up from my 231 low in late November)
  • New novel stands at 56,482 (up from 54,232 a week ago) words
  • One more medical appointment to arrange—gotta get on this!
  • Clarion West deadline was midnight Saturday. All done!
  • For upcoming CD need to:
    • re-record one poem
    • have a photo taken
    • finalize the order
    • provide a final listing of the tracks & times
    • send it out
  • Finish lay out for Succubus booklet for the Feminist Caucus of the League of Canadian Poets
  • Taxes
    • Copy out tax forms
    • find mislaid T4 (due April 30)
    • write checks
    • mail (due April 15 & 30)
  • Ignored the 2 large stacks of CDs to ready for review
  • CD pileup ignored this week (keep/toss/add to ectoguide)
  • Tape collection diminished by 2 more since last week (25 remaining in the red bag)
  • Get framed picture of me & Jim & send to Jim's Dad
last week's thinking and doing § next week's thinking and doing


Not listening to much right now, except still not tired of Broadcast's Tender Buttons, which is always what I play when I'm in Jim's car. That or Frou Frou.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Tobias S. Buckell's Crystal Rain is a science-fictional novel set so far in the future that parts of it are indistinguishable from fantasy. Here an earth colony has been isolated, due to a human war with two competing races, and has lost its ability to reproduce technology, partly due to the interference to two competing pantheons of gods, the Loa and the Toetl (a Vodou and an Aztec analgam, respectively) that the competing races have become to control the human population. The people know what they have lost, but by the time the Aztec gods have directed their people to cross the uncrossable mountains (via a tunnel that took 100 years to dig) and attack the people of the Loa on the other side, the attacked can only retreat as the Azteca sacrifice and ensalve the survivors. Yet John LeBrun, a man who doesn't seem to age and who has lost his memory, supposedly has some secret codes to an ancient weapon, and everyone is after him. An intiguing adventure story.

Michelle de Kretser's The Hamilton Case is the story of three generations of a family weaving its way through the end of the English colonial power over Sri Lanka, and how deeply their individual identities are shaped by the forces (political, personal) around them. It focuses on Sam, a lawyer who grew up more British than the British, a murder case that shaped his future, and how everyone tells a different story about the same events and draws different lessons from them. While there were places where the story lagged a little, this is a thought-provoking, intellectual novel of real and flawed characters living the lives and making the choices that appear to be the "right" ones.

last week's reading § next week's reading


My poem, "Giants Graves Forest Trail Painted by Numbers" was accepted by The Malahat Review. I'm pretty excited, because the last time I appeared there was 24 years ago.

Did really do much writing this week until my Saturday session, and did 2,200 words in those two hours, which is a record for me, I think. I figure I'm about two-thirds through this novel. First drafts are scary, though. I wish I knew more what I was doing.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

The Legend of Good Women

January 11, 1992

What follows is a series of quotes from Medieval Women in Towns & Cities by Erika Uitz, as translated by Sheila Marnie (Mt Kisco, NY: Moyer Bell, 1990), which I will omit here, but that include such interesting information as:
  • prostitutes were sacrifices to preserve the chastity of upper-class women
  • brothels usually recruited foreigners, or women from different towns
  • some prostitution guilds, but still outcasts
  • women participated in a variety of unexpected occupations, including trading, banking, running shops, minding, smithing, to the expected spinner. France had female guilds
  • however, women were still expected to behave in feminine ways
  • women musicians usually travelled in groups so as not to be persecuted as witches, were ostracized in towns
  • bridegrooms took their brides by the hand to indicate they now possessed them, or they could kick or knee them
  • widows were freed of male domination, particularly if they thereafter put on a nun's habit
  • there were two different kinds of marriage, Munt ehe and friedelehe, a sort of mini-marriage
  • many secret marriages, which men exploited, casuing many court cases
  • bigamy severely punished, but clearly still happened
  • lawbooks included statues where a women could divorce simply by declaring it in front of witnesses
  • rape could only be prosecuted when the woman reported it and had two witnesses
  • some women received educations
  • a woman looking for a wet-nurse writes: "the seem to have disappeared from the face of th earth, for I can find none. And some whom I used to have, whose own children were near to death, now say that they are well.... I found one whose milk is now two months old. She has promised me that if her child, who is near to death, dies tonight she will come as soon as it has been buried."
  • childhood ended at 4 or 5, when children would start looking after siblings, livestock, gardens...

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